A Bookish Version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Brenna Clarke Gray

Staff Writer

Part muppet and part college faculty member, Brenna Clarke Gray holds a PhD in Canadian Literature while simultaneously holding two cats named Chaucer and Swift. It's a juggling act. Raised in small-town Ontario, Brenna has since been transported by school to the Atlantic provinces and by work to the Vancouver area, where she now lives with her stylish cyclist/webgeek husband and the aforementioned cats. When not posing by day as a forserious academic, she can be found painting her nails and watching Degrassi (through the critical lens of awesomeness). She posts about graphic narratives at Graphixia, and occasionally she remembers to update her own blog, Not That Kind of Doctor. Blog: Not That Kind of Doctor Twitter: @brennacgray

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a reader was stirring nor clicking a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes a Powell’s gift card soon would be there.
The readers were nestled snug in reading nooks,
While through their heads danced visions of brand new books.
And Mama with her Kindle, and I with my Kobo,
Had settled into our stories of Harry Potter and Frodo,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter!
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like the Flash,
Flipped open the blinds with a rattle and clash.
The moon was full so I could see with no issue,
(Once I’d rubbed at the smear on my glasses with tissues),
That what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a gaggle of authors in tweed jackets so dear,
The leader of whom, so righteous and good,
I knew it was none other than Margaret Atwood.
Bumbling, her writer friends eventually came,
As she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now Munro! Now Franzen! Now Dickens and Morrison!
“On Marquez! On Baldwin! On Rushdie and Austen!
“To the top the TBR pile, to the top of the shelf!
“Now dash away, dash away, writerly elves!”
The way wind blows the pages of any book shut,
When they met with an obstacle, they just kicked its butt.
To the top of the bookshelves the authors they flew,
With their hands full of first editions, and Peg Atwood too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard in my study,
The prancing and pawing of Peg and her buddies.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
From my study emerged nine authors with a bound.
Munro was dressed sweetly; Franzen quite shabby,
When I saw what they held I tried not to get grabby,
Cuz between them they balanced a huge stack of books,
And I twisted and stretched to get a better look.
Dickens was ghostly; Morrison sipped a sherry,
Marquez was lofty; Baldwin so merry,
Rushdie spoke sarcastically; Austen was poised,
They all seemed to be cataloguing good girls and boys.
A Moleskine in her hand, pencil clenched in her teeth,
Atwood’s wild hair circling her head like a wreath.
She had a wry smile as she patted my belly,
And asked just how hard I’d been hitting the jelly.
She was funny and quick, a jolly, spry elf,
And my nerves fell away quite in spite of myself.
She handed me two books with a nod of her head,
They were Penguin Classics so I knew I had nothing to dread.
She spoke not a word, which was rare given her rep,
But I knew from her Twitter she had a touch of the strep.
Then she motioned to the other authors in her posse,
And together they giggled like they’d done something saucy.
They went to the door; it was time that they left me,
To deliver more books and continue their party.
But I heard them exclaim, “Happy reading!” at the door,
“May you get every book that you’ve ever asked for!”